July 23, 2014

The case of the walking glutonia

scrubbing bubbles

Scrubbing Bubbles

Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that Senseo coffee pods are not out to get me. In fact, I’ve been having recurring nightmares about them. In my dreams, they have mobilized like those “scrubbing bubbles” on T.V. and they are chasing me through an abandoned and really creepy summer camp. I have no idea why, in my dream, I have elected to go to a creepy abandoned summer camp in the middle of the night – by myself. And like the nameless extras in ‘Friday the 13th‘ movies, I back into a dark room (without looking) where they await. But I digress.

Senseo Coffee Pods

Senseo Coffee Pods

Oh yes, Senseo Pods. They are evil, or maybe just demon possessed. Or maybe they just don’t drink enough of their own coffee. I’m 95% sure that they are one of the many causes of ‘Walking Glutonia’ as I like to call it. You may be familiar with it. It’s when you unknowingly ingest microscopic amounts of gluten for days or weeks. The quantity is so seemingly insignificant, kind of like the number of gluten free meals available in a Papa Johns restaurant. However, after ingesting these microscopic doses for several days or more, you suddenly get very, very sick. Like nuclear sick. Like if we could bottle it, the war on terror would be over like instantly.

The worst part of Walking Glutonia is that its just about impossible to figure out what made you sick because you felt fine for the first several days of toxic poisoning. That’s the really insidious thing. The second worst part is actually being sick.

Well, about a week after buying a new Senseo coffee maker, I came down with Walking Glutonia. It never even crossed my mind that the Senseo was to blame. After all, its only water and coffee – none of those fancy flavors for me. I’m a mans man after all and drink my Senseo out of my cute little coffee machine with unflavored breakfast and medium blends. And Walmart sells them, so its not like its some product made by the lowest bidder or anything. So of course I kept drinking the Kool-aid coffee. It was then I discovered that caffeine alone cannot overcome all physical ailments, so I stopped drinking the coffee. That really stunk, but I got better. Except for those daily occasional caffeine headaches.

Refusing to accept reality (I REALLY like coffee) I re-started my morning Senseo binge a couple of weeks later. I mean of all the things one eats and drinks over a day, I figured it had to be something random, certainly not my SENSEO. You’ll never guess what happened next – after about a week of drinking lots and lots of coffee. Satan was unchained once again.

Obviously I was not going to give up my morning coffee, so I started the detective work and called the Senseo people. They directed me to Sara Lee. There we had it – Sara Lee makes all kind of people poison like pound cakes and pies. Obviously they were injecting their Senseo pods with baked goods to build a dependence habit among the coffee drinking population. So I called to expose them.

Helpful Customer Service person: “Hello, my name is Marcie Jong-il, how can I help you today?”

Me (sick and in a really foul mood): “OK, confess. You’re in a call center in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, you’re working under direct orders of Kim Jong-il, and you are tirelessly toiling day after miserable day to destroy the free world by means of gradual gluten poisoning.”

Helpful Customer Service person who is obviously an enemy agent working under cover: (silence)

Me: “OK, so you won’t talk. Fine. Can you tell me what’s in the Senseo pods? What is that paper material made of? Are there any gluten ingredients in the paper? Where were you on the night on February 7th?”

Helpful Customer Service person: “Sir, our pods are made with pure paper products, there are no other ingredients, and no gluten.” (at this point I could have sworn I heard her sniggering under her breath)

Me: “Aha! Caught you! What about the GLUE that holds the two halves of the paper together? Answer that!”

Helpful Customer Service person: “Glue?”

There you have it. She was busted and she knew it. Playing dumb didn’t fool me for a minute. I still can’t prove it, as she was obviously accustomed to tough
interrogation techniques and never did talk, but it sure looks to me like those Senseo pods are held together with glue. And I bet its glue made of 100% pure
gluten. It all fits with my conspiracy theory. So there.

Be safe out there, and watch your coffee.

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  1. luccamum says:

    Hi, this is VERY interesting!
    I live in England and my wife is celiac. We use enough Senseo pods to fill a large skip, and she always seems to get ill on a weekend, after having lots of lovely home brewed espresso and cappuchino using, yes, you’ve guessed it…. Senseo pods!
    So I phoned customer relations inthe UK, and got a reaction rather similar to the one you describe above – but she was polite, after I had assured her I wasn’t mad and was sincere, she said she would try to let me know on Mondday, so i’ll let you know!

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    Thanks! I am anxious to hear if you have better luck. I still don't have a clear answer.

    Most packets like that are just waffle pressed (like some tea bags) but thee definitely have some sort of waxy adhesive.

    ** Sent from my Windows Mobile phone**

  3. luccamum says:

    I’ll post as soon as I get an answer, the lady in Customer Relations did say that the Pods we buy in Britain were exactly the same as in the States, so I suppose the answer will be as relevant to you as to us!
    I love the site by the way, very very funny, with a sort of “Ouch” factor as well!
    As well as having a celiac wife, our Weimeraner has also been diagnosed as Celiac! I have a great recipie for Gluten free Chicken and Cheese Dog biscuits if you like!

  4. How about we just test the Senseo ourselves and see if it is GF or not? Then we can establish a baseline, do a little statistics on some other samples…
    Anyhow, just a thought. Your posts are great – please continue!

  5. You know, I’ve been meaning to buy one of those gluten test kits, but have been too lazy to make it happen. Then I would be able to officially test Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts, in the remote chance that the ingredients label is wrong and they turn out to be gluten free. One can dream…

  6. I just avoid the whole thing by using Eco Pads.
    I bought mine ebay for about half as much as Amazon.

  7. Thanks for the great tip and link! I tried some all plastic contraption a while back that did not work at all. This appears to me more like a “real” filter and I am anxious to try one! I have to admit the Senseo is pretty handy for that random cup of coffee sometimes :-)

  8. I happened to find this and solve my own most recent glutonium mystery. So, thanks so much to you. Had had terrible trouble for weeks and couldn’t figure out what I’d changed. Lots of pain and all those other lovely symptoms. But what was it? I read this article one evening while supper was cooking and the lightbulb went off. A few weeks ago, we got Tetley black tea in the house. Usually have Red Rose or Equal Exchange, both of which are safe for me and never give me trouble. Reading about the Senseo adventure, I did some research. Turns out Tetley tea may well be contaminated because of sharing production area space with their herbal teas, some of which include barley. I also read a bunch of items online where people had talked to Tetley, only to hear in some cases that the bags are sealed by pressure/heat and in other cases that the bags are sealed with ‘edible’ glue—main ingredient, gluten. No more Tetley, no more glutenation, for now. So, thanks for the Senseo Adventure article! Finally starting to feel like myself again and after 5 days am almost on top of this recent bout.

    • Glad you’re feeling better. I’ve also run into problems with various bagged tea, and while I’ve never been able to prove it, I suspect trouble arises from the bags themselves and whatever is used to bind them.


  1. [...] perplexing gluten mysteries you have solved. One of my most interesting ones to date has been the Senseo coffee pod adventure. What’s yours? Filed Under: Tips Tagged With: celiac, diet, gluten, gluten [...]

  2. [...] food stuff. A while back, I wrote about Senseo coffee pods. While I still haven’t been able to prove it, I think the adhesive that holds the pod together is [...]

  3. [...] escapes me. Couldn’t they use Mighty Putty or something?  I am starting to feel like my paranoia is justified after all. Filed Under: Tips Tagged With: celiac, gluten free, [...]

  4. [...] Have you ever worked for Senseo’s Consumer Hotline? [...]

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